tv U.S. Senate U.S. Senate CSPAN March 24, 2020 9:59am-2:00pm EDT
to the press, nobody's there. there's not a single reporter sitting in the chamber. we've seen the new york times-- actually there's nobody sitting in the chamber, they may have closed the chamber and in which case it may be an unfair assault, but it's not unfair assault to say that the new york times is changing their headlines to get political gain for the democrats. this is a time of crisis, it's not a time to play games. it's a time to rise above. it's a time to stand for the american men and women, a time to stand for jobs. it's a time to help protect people's lives. mr. president, i yield the floor. >> the u.s. senate is about to gavel in to continue debate on a nearly $2 trillion economic stimulus plan, the third since the coronavirus pandemic started. the resumed off the floor a half hour ago, what you'll see
this morning is speeches from senators laying out their positions. senator majority leader mitch mcconnell started up the process starting to vote to advance the measure, but that vote hasn't been scheduled. now to live coverage of the u.s. senate here on c-span2. the chaplain: let us pray. almighty and everlasting god, mercifully look upon our infirmities, and in all our dangers defend us. away. we cry out to you and seem to only hear our echos of
laments. as our lawmakers reach out to you night and day, enable them to connect to your matchless power. may they find in you a sure refuge, a shelter in the time of storms. lord, strengthen the weakness of our faith, and give us trust for our trembling and hope for our fears. give us patience and cheerful endurance and serenity of mind. and, lord, place your healing hands upon john bessler, senator
rand paul, and others who need to feel your touch. we pray in your great name. amen. the president pro tempore: please join me in reciting the pledge of allegiance to our flag. i pledge allegiance to the flag of the united states of america, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under god, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. the presiding officer: the
majority leader -- the presiding officer: the senator from iowa. mr. grassley: i'd like to address the senate as if in morning business for one minute. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. grassley: every american is facing a very uncertain future that the virus has brought to our country and to the world. our daily lives have become transformed for right now and maybe for some -- to some extent for ar longer period of time. grocery stores have been open -- in fact one of the few businesses that need to stay open. while it may shock some living in large cities, food does not come from grocery stores, food comes from farms. so today we celebrate national ag day. let me assure you american farmers and ranchers are up to the challenge of producing food
mr. mcconnell: madam president. the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. mcconnell: for weeks now the american people have been contending with the coronavirus pandemic that's spreading across our country and the massive -- massive disruptions to daily life it is creating for all of us. they are grappling with small
business closure, mass layoffs and uncertainty for their families. but that isn't all, madam president. for the last several days, madam president, in the midst of all of that they've also had to watch the united states senate spin it's wheel. as we convene this morning, roughly 40% of our population is under stay at home orders from state leaders. employers across america are wondering how they'll keep the lights on. doctors, nurses, and health care professionals are literally crying out for support. we literally have army field hospitals on the way to being set up in our major american cities. in the space of just a few weeks this has become, unfortunately, our new normal. this is a national crisis.
it's the most serious threat to americans' health in over a century and quite likely the greatest risk to america's jobs and prosperity that we've seen since the great depression. hundreds of thousands of americans have already lost their jobs because so much of our commerce has been put on pause. families are wondering how they are going to pay their rent or mortgage. in eight days rent is due on april 1. people don't know how they are going to pay bills or make their car payment. any other -- many other hardworking americans are still employed for now but fall asleep every night wondering if it will be there when they wake up to that e-mail or phone call
tomorrow. american seniors have seen decades of savings cut down in the space of days as markets literally tumble. our national life has literally and transformed in less than a month. the urgency and the gravity of this moment cannot be lost on anyone. every day, every hour the congress delays in passing a significant package, we risk more american livelihoods and the safety of more health care professionals. that's why right after i fast-track the democrat house relief bill in the senate, i immediately turned the senate toward developing an even bigger and bolder relief package for the american people. nine days ago i laid out the key objectives of our work. we had to send direct financial
assistance to americans -- direct? assistance to americans. we had to help main street small businesses. we had to act to stabilize the foundation of our economy for workers and we had to send more resources to medical professionals and our health care system. five days ago senate republicans released our initial framework for the cares act. we put forward bold policies like sending cash directly to americans. pouring money into small businesses, lending to national industries to prevent mass layoffs and surge resources to doctors, nurses and patients. we knew we need a proposal to address our nation's pain at literally every level. now, in the past few days some voices have tried to pit some americans against other americans and argued that
directly helping workers and strengthening businesses are somehow conflicting priorities. that is utter nonsense. american workers need paychecks. they need jobs. the working men and women of this country do need direct relief from government in this crisis, but for goodness sakes, they also need their paycheck. they need to be able to resume their lives and their jobs once this is over. the two things can't be separated. there's a term for when you separate employees from employers. there's a term for that. it's called unemployment. let me say that again. there's a term for when you separate employees from employers. it's called unemployment.
that's what we're trying to avoid. so this is no time to point fingers or stoke these culture wars. this is a time to unify. perhaps now more than at any moment in living memory, all of us americans are in this together. this pandemic is not the fault of the american workers who make this country run. it's not the fault of small business owners. it's not the fault of major national employers. everyone needs help. we're all in this together. we need an all-of-the-above approach, and that's what our framework put forward, help for workers and families and employers and health care providers. as soon as republicans put out a draft proposal to treat every
aspect of this crisis, i immediately called for bipartisan talks. that's not something you see often in washington. as soon as i released our first draft, i immediately invited the other side, these folks over here, to make their suggestions. that's what you call urgency. we set up bipartisan working groups. i asked negotiators to work together to turn our rough draft into something that could pass the senate with overwhelming bipartisan support. republicans and democrats traded ideas. democrats asked for many changes to the initial draft and received many. the updated text released a few days ago included proposals from the other side. and, of course, as our colleagues have dragged out the last several days, even further changes have been made at that request. this majority has gone out of
its way to -- out of its way to make this as bipartisan and open as possible. the administration has bent over backwards to work with democrats and address their concerns. now, at least i believe we're on the 5-yard line. it's taken a lot of noise and a lot of rhetoric to get us here. and, of course, -- that, of course, sometimes happens in this country. at different times we received democrat counteroffers that demanded things like new emission standards or tax credits for solar panel. we saw the speaker of the house release an encyclopedia of demands as though it were like a coronavirus proposal somehow. in spite -- in spite of all of that, we are very close. we are close to a bill that
takes our bold republican framework, integrates further ideas from both parties, and delivers huge progress on each of the core priorities i laid out a week ago. so today, madam president, today the senate has a chance to get back on track. today we can make all of the washington drama fade away. if we act today, what americans will remember and what history will record is that the senate did the right thing. that we came together, that we took a less sorn from the way -- lesson from the way that americans are uniting and working together all across the country that we combined ideas from both sides and took a bold step to help americans and protect our nation through this
crisis. i'm not sure how many ways to say it, madam president, but the clock has run out. the buzzer is sounding. the hour for bargaining as though this were business as usual has expired. the american people need our democratic friends to take yes for an answer. now i hope that will happen today. doctors and nurses need masks. families need help. small businesses need cash. hospitals need funding. their senate majority is ready to deliver those things. we've been ready to deliver those things for awhile. i hope today is the day this
body will get it done. the presiding officer: under the previous order, the leadership time is reserved. morning business is closed. under the previous order, the senate will resume consideration of the motion to proceed to h.r. 748, which the clerk will report. the clerk: motion to proceed to h.r. 748, an act to amend the internal revenue code of 1986, to repeal the excise tax on high sponsored employer health coverage.
the presiding officer: the majority whip. mr. thune: madam president, this very minute across the country, families are wondering how they're going to survive financially now that mom or dad is out of a job. our workers whose businesses have closed temporarily are praying that they'll still have a job to go back to when this is over. small businesses are facing agonizing decisions about whether they'll have to lay off
employees or close their businesses altogether. and democrats, madam president, democrats have been focused on fuel emissions standards and early voting. that's right, madam president. in the midst of an unprecedented health and financial crisis, democrats have been delaying a major relief bill in hopes that they can include a laundry list of their pet projects, projects that have absolutely nothing to do with providing financial relief to americans or ensuring that medical professionals have the resources they need to fight this virus. madam president, republicans developed this legislation in con junction with democrats, and it was teed up, being written up saturday, saturday
evening, ready to vote sunday morning, when it democrats voted to block even getting on the bill, even getting on the bill. they said we need to block it now because we may not be able to block it later, not of course acknowledging that there is yet another 60-vote hurdle that we would have to get over before we got to final consideration of the bill. but it's been teed up and ready to go now since saturday night. and we've made a lot of changes since then, the legislation, to address the democrats' priorities. and, madam president, i thought we were very close to agreement on a final bill. of course then the democratic leadership of the house and senate stepped in and apparently decided this was a perfect opportunity to implement a bunch of democrat pet projects that have nothing to do, nothing to do with fighting the coronavirus or helping the american families
who are suffering financially at this very minute. madam president, i know my democrat colleagues have come to regard bipartisanship as a bad word over the past three years, but i had hoped, i really sincerely had hoped that in this hour of serious need the democrats would be able to put aside their prejudices and work with republicans to pass this critical legislation. but apparently that was too much to hope for from the democrat leadership. madam president, neither my colleagues nor i have given up on reaching an agreement. we're still working and i'm still hoping that we will arrive at a final bill sometime later today. but we should have already passed this legislation three days ago, and the blame for not passing it lies squarely on the democrat leaders' shoulders. i really hope that they'll rethink their decision to hijack
this relief bill for their political purposes, because the american people deserve better. the bill before us is filled with resources to help struggling families, provide relief to workers, and enable businesses to retain their employees during this crisis. madam president, americans need this bill today, not tomorrow, not next week, not when democrats are finally satisfied that they've scored enough political points. today. and i hope that my democrat colleagues will urge their leadership to come to the table and pass this legislation. american workers and families need relief, and they need it now. we can't afford, madam president, to let them down. all we need is a few democrat members who are willing to go against their leadership and vote with us to pass legislation that addresses all the fundamental issues that i just
mentioned -- assistance to families, displaced people who need cash, people who need to pay bills, assistance to those who are unemployed in the form of unemployment insurance, increasing the states' uninsurance that people already get by $600 per week for three months, $2,400 checks for married couples and $500 per child on top of that to go out immediately upon passage of this bill. for small businesses, $350 billion set aside to pay payroll, to keep employees working, hopefully to keep those those there so they don't go away, and then when this thing is over, those jobs are still there for those people. those are all provisions in this bill that are designed to help working families, employees keep their jobs and keep their
livelihood until we get to a better place, which moly will be very soon. and in the meantime, deal with the health care crisis, which this also addresses. look at this. this is over $240 billion in relief in this bill dealing principally with the challenges that our health care community has. $75 billion directly for hospitals, another $25 billion would come in reimbursements under medicare to hospitals, so $100 billion for hospitals. $20 billion for veterans health care. $11 billion for vaccines, therapeutics, diagnostics. $4.5 billion for the centers for disease control. $1.7 billion for the strategic national stockpile. $12 billion for america's military, also an important component in this fight. $10 billion for block grants to states. $12 billion for k-12 education.
$6 billion for higher education. $5 billion for fema disaster relief. $10 billion for airports. and $20 billion for public transportation emergency relief. in all, just in this particular provision of the bill, $242 billion in assistance. $186 billion, i might add, which would run through and be administered by the states. so all told, between the amount that's going to families, workers, employees, small businesses -- about $1.1 trillion to $1.2 trillion that could be on the street today helping address the health care and economic crisis that's being felt and experienced by the american people. but, no, we're still here. we're still here waiting for the democrats to conclude at some point we hope that all these
political games that they're playing -- and it does seem like a big transaction for them, political winners and political losers, and the only loser we know is the american people in all this, because the longer this goes on, the harder it becomes for them to get back to where they were, the harder it becomes for that small business to stay open or to keep those employees employed. every single day is costing the american economy and american workers jobs, resources, wages that they could be putting forward to take care of them and their families. now, the democrats have said that they want more money for hospitals. that's goshable. they want -- that's negotiable. they want more conditions on the loan fund that larger businesses would be able to access in order to keep their businesses afloat. that's a negotiable thing. there are many of our members here who support those very
things. they say they want more money for state and local governments. probably, too, something that can be negotiated. and i keep having rank-and-file democrat members come up to me and say, this is the list of things we want to negotiate on and get into this bill. and i say, those are all things we want to negotiator on and many of our members would support what some democrats want to do. so what's the hold up? well, i don't think rank-and-file democrats even realize what their demanding just past those doors and trying to get done in this bill. getting the green new deal into effect, requiring basically federalization, nationalization of our election system in this country, all new kinds of requirements that benefit their special interest groups -- that's what this is about. that's what this is about. this is the hijacking of a crisis to try and get permanent
changes on a political agenda that they haven't been able to get, normally wouldn't be able to get under other circumstances. and we're happy to debate all those issues. we're happy to have that debate about all those other things they want to talk about. that's what we do here. you have a good iraq, you think something needs to be -- you have a good idea, you think you have something that needs to be changed, let's talk about it see if we can come up with a solution. but right now is not the time to be debating ancillary issues. now is the time to put out the fire. there is a fire burning in this country right now, and it's affecting every american, every single american. -- every single american is being affected. today is the day, and i hope and pray that when the democrat leadership comes out here on the floor, that they're going to announce that today is the did a i that they're going to work --
that dade is the day that they're going to work together with us on a bill which they had input on. two of the great fallacies of this legislation is, one, this is a partisan bill. they know that isn't true. their rank-and-file members that participated in the working groups now that isn't true. this is not a partisan bill. both sides had input, which includes many of the priorities that both sides brought to the table u. that's what this bill represents, madam president. and it epees are the very things that -- and it represents the very things they said they wanted. an emphasis on workers, on unemployed people, on small businesses, and then the other great fallacy that they -- things that they've raised, that this is somehow a bailout for big businesses. big businesses who have been forced to shut down. look at the airlines, 10% to 20% capacity. why do you think that is? that's not their fault. that's not their choosing. they've been forced to shut
down. and there are industries in industry sectors all across this country who are being affected in the same way. and all this bill includes is a provision that allows them to access credit so that they can keep their operations going, so they can continue to pay the employees, millions of whom are employed by big businesses across this country. so the democrats continually come to the floor and say, this is a bailout for big corporations. we need more emphasis on workers. who do you think employees the workers? as i mentioned, all the provisions in this bill -- this is a pro-worker bill. this is about getting paychecks in the hands of american workers. that's what this bill does. that's what this bill is about. it is just sad and regrettable -- this is a sad and regrettable chapter that in this time of enormous crisis, something we
haven't seen certainly in my lifetime and you have to go back in the annals of history, a really, really long time, to find a time when we're facing the kind of circumstances, the kind of crisis, the kind of hardship both in terms of people's health and livelihood as well as their economic livelihood in our history. today is the day to get this done. we can't wait any longer. time for political games is over. it's time to act. and i hope and pray that by the end of the day today that we will see the kind of cooperation, the kind of bipartisanship that will let us address the needs of hardworking americans who are fearful for themselves and their families. madam president, i yield the floor. mr. barrasso: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from wyoming. mr. barrasso: thank you, madam
president. i would like to associate myself with the remarks of the political whip. the time for political games is over. it is time to get this piece of legislation paled and signed into -- passed and signed into law. the american people need it. they want it and they are watching. yesterday the u.s. surgeon general warned, he said, this week it's going to get bad. he was talking about the health care aspects of it, and i was on the phone last night along with my colleague, senator enzi, with a telephone town hall meeting talking to people all around wyoming, and it's not just the health care side of it that's going to get back. the economic side of it is going to get bad, who people who every day want to get up and go to work are now for the first time in a long, long time told they can't do so. not by their employer but by the government. i've been visiting with doctors, with our health care providers specking more patients today and -- expecting more patients today and tomorrow and through the
week. some health care systems are being overrun. we need to get this done today. americans are going -- doing their part in preventing community spread of the virus, but the men and women on the front line taking care of those patients need resources that would be included in this bill, and we need to get this passed today. the private sector is mobilizing to provide more tests, more masks, for respirators, more jobs. this senate needs to do its job today. the administration has green-lighted flexibility for our health care systems. the senate mass had a bipartisan process throughout this the entire working, as the senator from south dakota has just outlined, the working groups coming up with bipartisan solutions. and together we have put together the largest economic and health care rescue package in the history of this country. it's time to pass it today.
but today, at least at the end of the last night, we were still at a standstill, being blocked and delayed by basically the speaker of the house. blocked from providing relief for the american people by the speaker of the house and the democrats who are doing her bidding. they continue to play politics with the lives and the livelihoods of the american people. and it's distressing because just within the last hour, the speaker of the house is on national television and she's talking about what her options are, political opposings. no sense of urgency, madam president, at all. i did not hear a sense of urgency in her voice. i didn't get a sense that she understood the gravity of the situation. when i listened to her voice talking about this, talked about a number of things on her wish list, talking about leveraging opportunities. this isn't about political
leverage. this is about the american people and the needs of our nation at this time of health care crisis and economic crisis. she talked about calling the house back in session as one of of her options. and then having a house-passed bill, and then going to a conference. madam president, we need action in this body today, and we need this bill on the president's desk tonight. today in this country we have over 46,000 people who've had the test for coronavirus and have tested positive. in the united states. people say a lack of testing. but 46,000 people have tested positive. so the total numbers may be beyond that. we have nearly 600 deaths in the united states from this virus that is raging around the world. in new york where the minority leader is from, they are touching the javitz center into
a field hospital -- they are turning the javitz center into a field hospital. men and women in the military know what a field hospital is all about. the new york health care system could be overrun in a week, according to some estimates. this bill needs to pass today. when you look back on this in a day in a week in a month, you just say how many deaths could have been prevented if this bill had been passed yesterday instead of today. but to think that delaying this even beyond today is an option, madam president, it is not. the bipartisan bill that the senators have worked on needs to pass today, be accepted and moved to the house to the white house. it is hard to defend the indefensible, but that's where we find ourselves with so many democrats coming to vote against even the motion to proceed to
debate on the bill. an unnecessary delay. it blocks the surge of supplies that our hospitals need, it blocks the medical innovation, it blocks support for our health care workers, every one of those no votes was a block for assistance to communities all around the country. the votes to block the motion to proceed delayed over $240 billion in emergency funding. that vote to block the motion to the bill blocked $100 million for hospitals, $20 billion for veterans health care, $11 billion for vaccines and therapeutics. the list goes on and on. why? it seems to me it's because the speaker of the house has come back here with her own bill that was on the floor yesterday having been made aware of what was in it and we looked at this wish list while the american
people wait and watch and worry. and it was a liberal wish list. things that have nothing to do with the disease or the treatment or the recovery of the economy. they blocked a list for the liberal -- for the liberal wish list, they blocked the list of things that would help save people's lives, resources that as a doctor i know are needed in a health care crisis. why are they holding this up? we had a productive bipartisan process to put a bill together that seemed on saturday night to be right on the wave of a successful bipartisan effort, and yet they all voted no under the direction of the speaker of the house who said she wanted more in it and came out with her own bill. and i will get to that wish list
in a moment. madam president, we have told the american public and governors and mayors and hospitals that we are doing everything we can and i believe that over the weekend as this bipartisan group worked together. but to see you -- but to see alf the democrats come to the floor and vote no, it makes me rethink that. we have an opportunity to do something the american public needs. we could have done it and should have done it yesterday. the demands that we're looking at really have nothing to do with saving lives, nothing to do with combating the coronavirus. and the list that i've seen from -- in the house bill has everything to do -- everything to do with capitulation to the extremes of nancy pelosi's party, the far left of her party, making good on the deal that she cut so she could remain
as speaker of the house. yesterday -- yesterday she seemed to be more interest, and was, more interested in the press reports in reliving the passage of obamacare ten years ago than in the crisis that we are facing today, reliving ten years ago a law instead of what law needs to be passed today and should have been passed yesterday. and it's ironic, madam president, that one of the architects of obamacare who was celebrating, emanuel, he wrote a book when obamacare was passed. what he said in the book was that there were too many hospitals in the united states, he said we have 1,000 too many hospitals in the united states. well, since obamacare has passed, 120 hospitals have closed, many of those rural
hospitals. obamacare blocked expanding physician-owned hospitals. but yet i hear from the same folks that today we need to expand our health care capacity. we don't have the hospital beds and the facilities to provide for the care that may be necessary in what the surgeon general said was a week things would get worse -- likely much worse. madam president, i don't understand why the senate democrats have chosen to align themselves with speaker pelosi on this leftist list of all of their wants overriding the needs of the american people. the house bill that nancy pelosi just put out, 1,100 pages, it is one special interest giveaway
after another. when one takes a look at this, and this came up last night on the telephone town hall meeting that senator enzi and i had with the folks in wyoming, i said, really, money for tax breaks for solar panels, for wind turbines. they are holding up voting for this emergency bill to help the american people in terms of the economy and in terms of our health care over solar panels and wind turbines, a green new deal with airline emissions. in this bill, this emergency rescue package for the american people, a student loan giveaway, a bailout for the united states postal service, new same-day voter registration and early voting requirements. that has no place in an emergency rescue package for the american people. that's why we were astonished on this side of the aisle why the
democrats one after another after another would come to the floor to vote no for even a motion to proceed to this rescue legislation. the american people need relief -- health care relief knowing that there is a treatment on the way, that there is research being done in vaccines and the things that they need, the testing is on the way. that's what the american people need. if they can't get a paycheck at work because their work has been shut down whether it's a restaurant or store, whatever, has been shut down and can't go to their job, they need to know they can pay for food, put food on the table for their family. instead what the speaker is asking for in her bill is increasing collective bargaining for big labor, requirements for gender diversity for corporate boards, an automatic extension of nonimmigrant visas, money for
planned parenthood. money to maintain the kennedy center for the performing arts. these are all worthy topics for discussion, not on this bill which is a rescue bill for the american people. let me be clear. this list that came to us from the house is a special interest wish list. it's not a list for people suffering from the coronavirus. this is while we have 150 million american workers watching and waiting and worrying. if somebody thought on the other side of the aisle they could just slip some of these items that the speaker of the house wants into this senate bill in an emergency, they are wrong. the president said last night he won't approve such a list so they are delaying. they seem to be blocking the bill for something that will never become law.
we know what's going on here. the media even understands what's going on here. while one major outlet said that cnn the democrats are engaging in political gamesmanship. madam president, this is about the future of our country, the future of the people of our country and yet we're seeing political gamesmanship being played by the other side of the aisle. the american people get it as well. they see through it. and the american people know that valuable days are being lost here. we need to pass this today. no more delays. the bill has been written in a bipartisan way in the senate. it should pass with overwhelming numbers. i see no reason why we can't vote today. i see no reason to delay. this is the time to get health
care capacity on line to deal with this health care crisis in a week that, as the surgeon general said, is going to get much worse. we need today to prepare our hospitals and our health care systems for the surge of patients that is coming. they need to be ready. the men and women who are working in those hospitals, they are ready. they are in the fight of their lives. they are the heroes in the hometowns all across america because coronavirus is in every state and in many, many communities. so those men and women are there and they need to hear that the senate and the house and the president and this nation, the government, is standing behind them. and not standing at a distance but right there in the fight with them by providing what they need, the testing, supplies, the
equipment, one thing after another so they can do what that they are trained to do which is save lives, heal the sick and prevent disease. that's why people go into medicine. that's why they go into the profession. the doctors and the nurses and the therapists and all of those people working there, they go to school to learn to save lives. they go to school to learn to treat disease and treat the sick and prevent disease, and, madam president, that's what this coronavirus has put all of them in a position to do, to do their best work, to have to make sure they have everything they need, and for that reason we need to pass this bill today. there is no reason to delay, no reason to wait another day. the bill provides them what they need and provides the economy
the sort of certainty and security that the entire country needs. so, madam president, i appreciate the opportunity to share these thoughts, and my final message is this bill needs to be passed today. thank you, madam president. i yield the floor and suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
mrs. blackburn: thank you, madam president. as we are all facing this, we're hearing from our tennesseans, we are hearing from small small businesses, and people are trying to hang on to every piece of information that they can get. it helps them to stay informed, and we encourage everyone stay informed. stay up to the minute. talk to us. be on our websites and social media. we all want to get to you the information that you need as quickly as we get it, because that's how we're going to defeat this, is by realizing that we are all in this together, and it's going to take every single one of us doing our part to get past it. you know, in my family, we had this mantra that we grew up with, and it was kind of my
mother's way of saying don't sit around and wait. do things. and it was -- there were two things she would always say. leave things in better shape than you found them. in other words, always be helping to improve a situation. leave things in better shape than you found them. she would always say give back more than you take. stressing to us the importance of being a giver to our community, to our family, to our society, and not being a taker, sitting around, feeling like you are entitled, and you want people to bring things to you. so in our family as we approached situations that may have been less than wonderful or
if there had been a hurricane -- i grew up in south mississippi -- or a terrible storm or some other event, we would always look at it and say leave things in better shape than you found them and give back more than you take. it was important that action be a part of the solution not only for our family and our community, but, you know, madam president, right now taking the right actions, exercising good judgment is something that is important for our entire nation, and tennesseans are hard at work helping to address this coronavirus, covid-19 crisis that we are under. right now there are 166 members
of the tennessee national guard that are training to provide support to the tennessee department of health. all together, the state currently plans to activate 250 guardsmen to help out at clinics across the state. they will be helping with assessments and screenings. to these national guardsmen, guardswomen, to these members and their families that are going to activate in this crisis, bless you. god bless you, and thank you for once again stepping up to help defend our nation and to meet our nation's needs. the tennessee air national guard assisted in transporting one million testing kits. they put these on the c-17's that are housed there in memphis and flew them from aviano air
base in italy to memphis, and then those kits were divided out and sent to health care providers all across the nation to get testing into communities where our citizens are fearing they may have contracted covid-19. in finding solutions, scientists at vanderbilt university medical center are working hard in participation with our labs to find a vaccine for this. the denison lab, and i had the opportunity to talk to dr. denison last week. we know in connection with other labs they are expediting finding
virals, vaccines, this is something they are working on and they are working as hard as they possibly can around the clock to find these solutions. of course we do know, madam president, if china had been more forthcoming, if they had not tried to keep this a secret, imagine trying to keep this a secret, which is exactly what they tried to do, we would be further along in this process. but we're so grateful, so, so grateful for these brilliant minds that are researching this and are building off past research from coronaviruses and from sars, and they are whittling down what can be used to fight this. indeed, the super computer at oak ridge and the team of
scientists there working with the super computer, the summit, were able to put in a lot of information and distill down to 77 drugs that could be effective in this fight against covid-19. and, you know, madam president, you may remember that just as we identified our first case of covid-19 in tennessee, that was the week that west and middle tennessee was struck by a devastating series of tornadoes tornadoes, and tema, our emergency management agency, and all of the volunteers who have worked on this have done an unbelievable job in the midst of dealing with unprecedented devastation. and again, we thank president trump for his attention to this, and the people of tennessee are so grateful for his attention to the concerns of
those hit with the tornado and his visit to the state, and fema and tema working together to address that. so our state has had a full plate, and i say thank you to every tennessean who has looked at the situation that we're in and decided that they're going to do whatever they can help. we have a lot of distillers in our state, and god bless them. they're stepping up, and instead of distilling whiskey, they are moving to sanitizers and, yes, to those distillers, we know there is an excise tax problem, and we are on it trying to resolve that for you. and i have to give a shout out to our singers and our songwriters, our musicians. while they cannot go fill the
audience at one of the clubs at lower broad or one of the concert venues in so many places around our state and up in pigeon forge and gatlinburg, what they're doing is hosting virtual concerts, and they're on instagram and facebook, and they're doing this every single day, trying to bring a bit of joy to lift our hearts during a time when we are quarantining and staying separate and apart. how wonderful that we have this technology that will allow us to walk through this entire process of this pandemic together. here in d.c. we are doing our best to be as positive as we possibly can and to be productive because we know, as i said on this floor yesterday, we know that this is a very difficult time for small businesses, and it's why i have
worked so very consistently and diligently through this process of negotiating our legislative solution to be sure that it includes a small business definition that is going to include the self-employed and the sole proprietors and the independent contractors so that they are not left in the lurch. and we're continuing to do that. we're hearing from people every day. i heard from the manager of a ymca that is outside of nashville, and they've got 65 part-time employees that work in that facility. and this manager is concerned about how nonprofits and small businesses are going to end up being treated in this legislation. he is certainly wanting to keep those people on the payroll. you know what?
i agree with him. we want people to stay on the payroll. when we get past this 15-day period -- we're about halfway through it right now -- 15 days to slow the spread that the president and vice president have put in place, we want people to be going back to work. i heard from another business owner. it's a family-owned business, and they do maintenance services like plumbing and electrical work, and they have employees that have been with them since 1993. they have never had to lay off one single employee, and they're concerned about where uncertainty is. we have retail, fabulous homegrown retail entities in middle tennessee around nashville. one of those employers has five stores. they are headquartered in
franklin, tennessee, right outside of nashville. he is keeping people working even though they're barely bringing in revenue. and he needs us to pass this bill, this rescue bill so he can keep those employees on the payroll. and then a company that has stood itself up in the last several years, and they're a valuable asset in working with the vulnerable population, moving people from poverty to work, and they're wanting to keep people working. so we're hearing from all of these about the importance to have this bill. -- this bill that will be a bipartisan bill to address the concerns of businesses, large and small, to address the concerns of workers who are working for those businesses large and small.
and what we have had in the bipartisan bill -- and hopefully this will move forward -- is $350 billion in loans for small businesses. and if people stay working, those become grants. $500 billion in emergency relief through low-interest loans that can go to businesses and hospitals. $242 billion in emergency appropriations across federal agencies. 75% of that money would go to state, local, and tribal governments who is are much better at managing their affairs than the federal government. $250 billion in increased and expanded unemployment benefits. i talked about this yesterday. if you're normally going to get $300 in unemployment with the $600 plus-up, you're at $900 a week.
these are all things to keep the economy going. and then an additional $75 billion to support our hospitals. that's an initial amount for our hospitals and our health care workers. so there is much that is in there. imagine a bipartisan bill including this, including tax rebates for americans, $1,200 for individuals, $2,400 for joint filers, $500 per dependent child. and student loan deferments for those that are affected by covid-19. all of that -- all of that in a bill. but it is so incredibly disappointing to know that we had the failed vote -- not once, but twice -- to get to cloture to move forward to get on this bill. and all these good-faith
negotiations. i have just been appalled with the comments to restructure this bill, to meet the progressive vision. you know, there is a season for everything. there is a time and place for everything. and this is neither the time nor the place to have a debate about things like collective bargaining powers for unions and making our airlines meet emission standards, the green new deal emissions standards, by 2025. for goodness' sakes, let's keep the airlines flying right now. wind and solar tax credits -- that has nothing, nothing, to do
with covid-19. come on, i say to my friends across the aisle. let's set these aside for the appropriate season to discuss this. but it's not now. election assistance funding -- that has nothing to do with covid-19. corporate board diversity -- nothing to do with covid-19. same-day voter registration -- the list goes on and on. there is a time and a place. there is a season. and right now, dealing with the crisis in front of us is what should be the center of our attention. i think that yesterday my fellow republicans -- and i made it abundantly clear -- we do not have time at this point in time -- at this point in time, we do
not have time for political games and antics based around a progressive policy wish list. it is disrespectful of the american people. it is hurtful to those that are directly affected by covid-19, which indeed is everybody. it is important for us to move forward. now, i didn't get everything i wanted. i would have preferred a payroll tax holiday. i would have preferred rebating income tax that's been paid in for businesses and for individuals. i would have even liked to have seen more of my bipartisan sam-c act. adults realize that you're not going to get everything you want.
and reasonable people realize you are not going to get everything that you want. and this is a time where we should be respectful and we should be reasonable and we should apply common sense. we are -- we know that the american people are expecting our best efforts, and they are looking forward to a solution. as i said yesterday, i had talked to someone who said, you know, i am scared to death. a small business owner, had struggled. tax cuts and jobs act allows them to move forward with growth. teenagers in the house. homeschool starting today, and she said, i am screaming inside
silently. i do not want the kids to know that i'm afraid. so i encourage my colleagues, lay down your progressive policy wish list. lay it down. set it aside. there is a season to everything. there is a time. there is a season. and i encourage you to realize, this is neither the time nor the season. let's address the critical issues in front of us. i yield the floor. mr. durbin: madam president? the presiding officer: the assistant democrat leader. mr. durbin: thank you, madam president. first leet me say to word to my colleague from tennessee. it is good see you at a good social distance. i thank you for your presentation. we may not agree on everything, but we do agree on some things. we're working together on an issue that affects tennessee and illinois and many other places to increase the number of medical professionals available
in small-town and rural america. as we go through this public health crisis, it reminds us that we need to keep focused on that, and she and i will continue to work on it. i thank her for her bipartisan cooperation. it is, i think that is a timely issue with or without the current crisis we face, and i look forward to our successful completion on that bipartisan issue. madam president, my daughter called me yesterday from new york and talked about her first day in the classroom. you see, our grandkids go to you the public schools of brooklyn, and they're of course closed and the kids are back home. well, yesterday was the first day when there was to be remote learning using laptop computers. and so my son-in-law took my grandson and my daughter took my granddaughter into separate rooms and spent three or four hours in that made-up classroom,
and my daughter said, this is harder than i ever imagined. so a reminder, number one, of how much we owe to teachers who do this every single day and not with one child, usually with more than one, 15 or 30 in a classroom. and let us also remember that the learning process is critically important as we go through this health crisis. i hope all parents will try -- i know my daughter and her husband are trying -- to help the kids keep up with their learning process. in some places, it's hard. kids don't have access to computers or may not have remote-learning possibilities. but it is something that is essential, and i thank the teachers and school districts who are trying to put it together. janice jackson called me just a few days ago and talked about how they're implementing this in the city of chicago, how they're trying to distribute school lunches.
it's an you asome responsibility. -- it's an awesome responsibility. let's give special thanks to those who are working overtime to make sure our kids can keep up with the learning process and some of the basics of life, like feeding, to make sure they have something for lunch and breakfast, if not more. i could go through the long list of people to thank, which i've done before, starting with those in health care, nurses, doctors, lab technicians, others working at senior citizen facilities, our first responders, and many like them. let us not forget every single day while we isolate, they are forced to break isolation and to come to help those in need. and we can never thank them enough. so what is is going on in the united states senate, if you hear the other side of the aisle, there's a suggestion that we've wasted our opportunity, and nothing is happening. they've argued that we had two votes in a row, first sunday afternoon and then yesterday, to
decide not to debate on the floor the mcconnell bill that was produced. the argument is that we can't waste a second. we need to get into the serious business of helping people across america and turning our economy around. i just want to say for the record that i left the office not 30 or 40 feet away of the democratic leader, senator schumer. i didn't go in to see him because he is in active negotiations at this minute with the treasury secretary, mnuchin, representing the white house. he is in communication with the speaker of the house, nancy pelosi, about the progress being made. as i said on the floor yesterday, he feels positive and optimistic about the outcome. i do, too. this is an awesome undertaking. consider for a minute that the bill we are trying to style and craft literally is larger than one year's federal budget for the domestic discretionary spending, and we're doing it in a matter of days. when this comes to the federal budget, we spend a year, sometimes longer, putting it together.
in this case, we are writing a bill of that magnitude in a matter of days because it is a compelling challenge and should happen. the argument on the other side of the aisle is we've wasted our opportunity here. we should have agreed to the mcconnell bill that was brought forward for a vote on sunday and got on with it. but many of us understood that there was a fundamental flaw in the process that senator mcconnell started. when he suggested that we needed this third bill, it was after we had passed two previous bills. the first one the president asked, if you'll remember -- it seems like ancient history -- about three weeks ago the president asked for $2 billion. $2 billion to deal with coronavirus. many of us thought that was totally inadequate, and we put our heads together, on a bipartisan basis, with the president and raised it to $8 billion. we did it in a timely way, and we did it in a bipartisan fashion. probably shocked people across america who have limited high regard for congress to start with.
and then quickly thereafter came the need ford another bill -- need for another bill. we upped the amount from $8 billion to $100 billion in that second bill. it passed in the early morning hours of last saturday, just last saturday. and what happened in the senate? well, the senate didn't move on the bill until wednesday of last week. so we're talking about waiting four days, where we could have considered the bill in the senate and didn't move forward with it because we didn't have consent requested or given, but it's been done that way before. it doesn't have to physically make it across the rotunda. so four days passed and last wednesday senator mcconnell called this bill for a vote, and it passed, $100 billion. and then he announced that we would start crafting this third bill. if you notice the calendar and the days that we're facing here, it hasn't been a week since that announcement, and we are considering a bill of a size and magnitude the likes of which
we've never seen in a single undertaking, a bill for authorization and appropriation that may range somewhere north of $1.5 trillion. why is it that big? because the problem is that big, if not larger. and that's why we're trying to do this the right way. when senator schumer was told by senator mcconnell we were moving toward this third bill, first-to-file response was -- his first response was the right one. let's do it like the first two. let's have a bicameral, bipartisan approach. he suggested bringing touting the four corners, the democratic and republican leaders of the house and senate, together with the white house to sit down and craft this bill. senator mcconnell refused. he said, we will start this as an exclusively senate republican bill. we will ask our task forces to write something. we'll get back to the democrats in the senate later and no mention was made of the involvement. house. well, after some 48 hours, we were presented with the proposal
from the republican side. in fairness, there were parts of it that were bipartisan. in the mcconnell bill. i think of the effort that senator cardin of maryland, senator rubio of florida put into the whole question of dealing with small business and the problems that they are facing with this personal -- or this massive public health crisis. they've come up with what i consider a good approach, an approach that could help 50 to 60 million small businesses. there were others in the conversation, senator wyden, senator graham. it was bipartisan start to finish and they were this close to coming up with a bipartisan proposal. however, other provisions in the mcconnell bill were not bipartisan and that's where it reached the end of the story. he was bringing the mcconnell bill to the floor without negotiations.
that came as a surprise because there were elements that democrats were asking for and insisting on that really were fundamental. a vote was taken this last sunday afternoon and we decided as a caucus to argue on the democratic side that there were fundamental elements missing in the mcconnell proposal and so we voted no to go forward on the mcconnell proposal. at that point we didn't fold our arms and say that's it, we're not part of the process. senator schumer and the leaders in the caucus did the opposite. we sat down with the white house and the treasury secretary and engaged on those issues of importance and in a few hours we involved the speaker of the house of representatives nancy pelosi. time and again i noticed over the last several days senator mcconnell and others have come to the floor and complained that speaker pelosi was part of this negotiation process.
if you go back to that pamphlet how laws are made this is not a unicameral legislation. both the house and the senate have to pass it. starting with the majority and speaker pelosi and mr. mccarthy of california representing the minority is an integral part of the process and should be. i don't know why it is so unnerving for republican leaders to consider sitting down at the table with this woman from california to happens to be the speaker of the house and the leader of the majority who is essential if we are going to get this done in a timely way. i think she should be part of it. she has been following the progress that is being made with senator mcconnell, secretary mnuchin and that is -- she is part of where we need a bipartisan agreement. we need to involve the house of representatives in the conversation at the earliest
stage, not after we've finish the republican measure that are senator mcconnell wanted to bring to the floor, but after we completed a bipartisan measure that is one she may be able to take to the house of representatives for consideration and maybe even a unanimous consent on the floor. what are the items we're now negotiating and where do they stand? the first item and we made it clear on the democratic side that is essential that we deal with the health care system across america. when the governor of new york, governor cuomo announced yesterday that he wishes every hospital in new york would increase its capacity by 50% and then he went on to say i really mean 100% but 50% so that they had enough bed space for those who are likely to come in seeking help facing this covid-19 virus. we can understand that if a great state like new york and even illinois for that matter has to anticipate this dramatic increase in patience, our system
could be easily overwhelmed. so the democrats have said from day one that we want to make that the highest priority in this third bill. make sure we put money in their four hospitals for hel health ce to respond to this crisis. i can tell you progress has been made since the negotiation between senator schumer and treasury secretary mnuchin have been under way. we have made progress. i hope if we can hold it, we'll have a dramatic increase in the amount of money that was originally in the mcconnell bill for this purpose when it comes to hospitals. i also want to say a word about the unemployment insurance. this is a proposal that comes from the democratic side but has been embraced by many republicans as well. and the notion behind it is that those workers who cannot go to work because there's no work to be done or they've been furloughed or lost their jobs would have access to the highest levels of unemployment compensation in our nation's history. now, we think that that is a
significant change and even a significant restructuring of unemployment insurance to reflect the occurrence crisis we face. i don't run away if this issue restructuring. i've heard many republican critics but when it comes to unemployment insurance, we are in fact restructuring it. the payments that were generally made in my state of illinois and other states were just not sufficient for those to maintain a family and pay their bills during times of economic crisis. and so we have started moving toward an amount for individual workers closer to what they were paid at work. and we believe that this should be done over a long period of time. to say three months is enough, maybe a rosy scenario which we hope will occur but may not. we want to give these workers the assurance that they can keep their families together and pay their basic bills, even if they're not going to work because of this public health crisis which we are facing. is that restructuring? i think it is. is it necessary? certainly it is. and it's been a great tool on a
bipartisan basis but that is one of the things that we don't believe the mcconnell bill originally proposed to us on sunday really addressed in a full and complete way. we have made it our kind of standard on the democratic side to make certain that we measure every proposal for economic recovery against the workers and working families of america, not what it does in the boardroom but what it does in the family room of individual families who still get those bills in the mail and still face the pressures of being out of work and wondering if there's enough money to get by. we know that a majority of americans do not have savings of $400 or more. many of them live week to week, not paycheck to paycheck. and we want to make certain that they have that peace of mind. we have measured every proposal for economic recovery against working families in america and against the individual workers and the challenges that they face. there's been a complaint that we raised the issue of collective
bargaining. we want to make certain that when we give money to corporations, it does not change the status of the workers that they have bargained for over the years. we're going to wait, of course, and another day consider future contracts and work contracts but for the time being, we want to make certain that whatever money is going into the corporation respects the existing righting of workers under their collective bargaining agreements. i don't think that's a radical notion. corporations are going to continue to operate under the laws of america. i think the workers should be entitled to the rights that have been granted to them under their collective bargaining agreements, and that's basically the bottom line for us when it comes to collective bargaining. when it comes to loans to corporations, that's where we had a serious problem with the mcconnell bill. there was a provision in senator mcconnell's bill which he calls a bipartisan bill and i acknowledge in part it was, but there was a provision that was far from bipartisan, a provision which said when it come to
loaning money to corporations, the treasury secretary could waive the disclosure of that loan for up to six months. that's unacceptable to me and it was to most of us on the democratic side. we believe if billions of dollars are flowing through the decision of the treasury secretary to individual corporations, there should be transparency and accountability. who is receiving the money, under what conditions, and what is going to happen with the money that's being sent, taxpayers money that's being sent for this purpose. so we have insisted as we sit down and negotiate -- in negotiation here for this accountability and transparency when it comes to these massive amounts, billions of dollars that could be transferred by the decision of one person in the administration. i don't think that's too much to ask. we should be held accountable as members of this senate and the house of representatives for the money that's appropriated when we allocate it. the administration should be held to the same basic standard. we also believe that when it comes to the basic standards,
that we have been burned once and don't want to be burned a second time. for those of us who have voted for past legislation to give money to corporations, we want to make certain that that is for the good of the economy and the good of the workers. sadly, in the past, we have seen under tax bills and other provisions that were supposed to benefit the economy ended up being a windfall for executives and corporations in terms of stock buybacks and dividends. yes, we are holding a standard that buybacks should not be part of the future of any corporate assistance. we should be dealing with this to help the workers, help the economy, but not to line the pockets of those who are at the highest levels of corporate governance. i don't think that's a radical idea. i think most americans agree with it and it's one of the things that we continue to argue for. i see my friend senator carper has come to the floor. we served in the house of representatives together. then he took a little vacation and became governor of the state of delaware and then returned to service at the federal level in
the senate. and he knows as all of us do that governors across the united states and mayors and presidents of county board, for example, are -- board, for example, are making exceptional sacrifices to fight this battle against this coronavirus. they are spending a lot more money on public health matters than they ever anticipated. they are seeing more claims at our state level for unemployment insurance than they've seen in history. and many of them are facing fiscal budgetary problems because of it. it is so obvious. we've seen dramatic leadership when it comes to the governors. one of our colleagues in the house, mike dewine, now the republican governor of ohio, has made some i think significant, important, and good decisions for his state. some of those have involved more spending by the state of ohio than he ever could have anticipated. the same thing is true for j.p. pritzker in the state of illinois. i talk to him every single day. we text many times during the day. i know that he is spending money
that he thinks is necessary to save lives in illinois. so the point i'm making is we want to make sure that the bill that emerges helps state and local governments with the fiscal problems they face because of this economic and health care crisis. i don't think that is unreasonable. i think it is the right thing to do and i hope that we can include it, but that's why the original proposal in the mcconnell bill did not go far enough and why we've continued to negotiate up to this minute. i might raise an issue of difference between myself and the senator from tennessee who has just a few moments ago on the floor. she suggested we shouldn't involve ourselves in issues that have nothing to do with covid-19 and she used as an example the administration and execution of elections. i will tell you we went into a debate just a week or so ago in illinois as to whether to go forward with the primary election. we decided in illinois to do it and it wasn't easy at all. and they decided in ohio to
postpone their primary election. the point i'm getting to is the conduct and timing of elections relates directly to covid-19, whether enough people will be able to vote, enough people to be able to serve as judges in the polling places. i don't know if that's being debated in the other room, but we should bring that issue up because we want to make sure that in this democracy, the most fundamental element of a free and democratic election is going to occur. i encourage all of my friends, family to vote by mail, vote early. we can do it in our states. some states you can't. i hope we can find a mechanism to guarantee that elections really do reflect the sentiment of the american populous. is that related to covid-19? you bet it is. it is basic. and whether it's included in this bill or in a later bill, i don't think that we should ignore it. finally, let me say a word about the president's press conference last evening. i watched it. and i watched it because the
news reports leading up to it raised the question as to whether the president was going to change america's strategy when it comes to dealing with this coronavirus. the current strategy, of course, is social distance, to make sure that you're isolating yourself as much as possible and when in the presence of others, you don't stand too close. those are the fundamentals. and wash your hands over and over again. i mean, we hear those recommendations and i think they're sound. but now there's a suggestion from the president that we may take a different course. i don't know what he will finally decide. but i want to stand with the public health experts, dr. fauci and others who believe that the best way to slow the growth of this infection rate in our country is by using some form of social distance, isolation of individuals and families. it is a great personal sacrifice and burden for many families to go through this. i know. but if at the end of the day we could reduce the number of
people who suffer or die from this virus, it is worth the sacrifice as far as i'm concerned. the president -- presidents in times of crisis are expected to be credible with clarity and consistency. i hope the president will remember that as he makes his decision on policy. don't follow somebody talking on cable tv and their recommendations. follow the experts and public -- in public health who have dedicated their lives to saving the lives of others, even though it may not be politically popular to continue with this current social distancing. it is an approach which i believe has been proven in many other countries around the world to work successfully. the notion that we're doing damage to our economy, of course. it is being hurt. the number of unemployment claims may reach historic and record breaking highs. but the fact is if we don't deal with the underlying cause of our economic chaos, and that is this virus and deal with it
effectively, sadly we're going to see the economic situation in this country deteriorate even more in the future. i'm going to close my bottom line with this. we believe that the first two measures passed related to covid-19 were done in a timely and bipartisan way. and they've been done in an effort to make sure the american people know we can overcome our political differences and actually come together on a bipartisan basis to serve this nation as we were sworn to do. there have been differences along the way, and this bill that we're currently considering is one of such magnitude that we've never seen anything like it in the history of congress in terms of just the dollar amounts that are being debated now. we want to make certain that we do everything in good faith that we can to have a good negotiation, a bipartisan negotiation involving the house, the senate, and the white house in the hopes that we can get this done and come up with a
truly bipartisan package. the original bill, as i mentioned, and four or five particulars was lacking from our point of view. i'm happy to report in most of these we've made progress since the early decision not to move forward with the mcconnell bill, but there is more work to do and i think it is naive to think this is the last piece of legislation that we'll need. we don't know where america will stand in 30, 60, or 90 days. but whatever it takes, we need to come together as a nation, put aside political differences and agree on what is best for families across our country, red and blue states alike, and do it in washington as well. engaging house representatives in the early stages of negotiations just makes common sense. whatever we approve here has to head to the house of representatives as well. let's involve the speaker, the republican leader in the house,
the four corners that senator schumer asked for at the early stage of this conversation. that, to me, is the best way to achieve. for those who see an empty chamber and wonder if work is being done, as i mentioned earlier, senator schumer has been negotiating around the clock with the white house and with senator mcconnell to come up with a better bipartisan package to move forward from this point. i'm going to close now. just one point i would like to make, and that is many of my colleagues are now joining senator portman and me in cosponsoring what we called the remote voting amendment in the senate rules. it is complex because it's the first of its kind where we are discussing using modern technology to meet our constitutional responsibilities and obligations. the reason, of course, is obvious. we shouldn't be gathering on the floor in groups. we've been warned by the centers
for disease control not to do that but we do it because we have very few alternatives. we're hoping to work with the parliamentarian and officers of the senate to come up with something that is bipartisan, makes sense, and protects the integrity of voting on the floor of the united states senate. we need to do our jobs even in times of national crisis, whether it's a national health crisis or terrorism. let's devise a week, let's work on a way that the senate and i hope the house debrises that will give -- debrises that will give -- agrees that will give us options in this time of peril. i yield the floor. mr. schumer: madam president. the presiding officer: the democratic leader. mr. schumer: first i want to thank the senator from illinois for his strong words and he has
had empathy and understanding of how average folks are suffering. it is very important. i spoke to his governor, and told him that senator durbin is working on something very hard that democrats believe is important and that is money for the states and localities. they have expenses and with taxes not filed until june, much of their money will not be there because of states file with federal government. now, madam president, i'll be brief. i just finished a very productive meeting with secretary mnuchin, the white house congressional liaison, and mark meadows, the president's acting chief of staff. last night i thought we were on the 5-yard line. right now we're on the two.
as i also said last night at this point of the few outstanding issues, i don't see any that can't be overcome within the next few hours. here are the things that we have been fighting for, we senate democrats. first, a marshal plan for our medical system, our hospitals, our nursing homes, our community health centers, our whole health care system needs desperately needed dollars. they need them fast and they need them in a very large amount. hospital beds have to expand. expanding capacity is not easy. the need for ventilators for p.p.e.'s for the workers, for masks, even things as simple as swabs are not always available. and we in new york city and new york state and hospitals around the country will be overwhelmed. our big hospitals, our
medium-sized hospitals and small hospitals. the small and rural homents actually face the risk of closing if we don't help them. so we senate democrats have been pushing very hard for an increase -- a significant increase in money for the health care system and we are -- and we are very, very pleased with what seems to be moving forward in the bill -- in the bipartisan bill that we hope will be brought to the floor. second, workers first. the title of our democratic plan has been workers first. we believe we have to put working people, families, average americans ahead of anybody else. they are losing their jobs through no fault of their own. their kids are being sent -- are staying home because there's no school. there are so many -- so many problems that are befalling average people, and so we wanted to put them first.
that's been our number one goal along with the marshal plan for hospitals, and this bill, as it comes forward as it's now at least being agreed upon has a lot of that. it has unemployment insurance on steroids. this is a great plan. what it says is if you lose your job in this crisis, you can be furloughed by your employer. that means you stay on that -- you stay on that employer's work list if you have health benefits with the employer, you can keep getting them, but, and most importantly, the federal government will pay your salary, your full salary for now four months. we had asked for four months and four months looks like what we're going to get when we come to this agreement. it will mean two things.
most of all it will put money into the hands of those who need it so much because they lost their jobs, as i said, through no fault of their own. so that is vitally important, and that will pump money into the economy probably in a better way than anything else could do it, but it also has the second benefit. it will keep companies in tact. the small restaurant owner, the middle-sized business, even the large businesses worry that if they just had to remove their workers, fire them because they don't have any money coming in, that those workers would scatter to the winds, they'd look for other jobs, and when, god willing, this awful crisis is over, these businesses would not be able to reassemble. but with our plan, since they stay on the payroll of their employer as soon as the crisis is over, they all can come back together and that small
restaurant, that middle-sized manufacturing facility, the service business will be able to reassemble quickly and we can get the economy going again. that's another thing we've been fighting for. we've been fighting very hard for any that -- that any bailout fund, money to industries that have trouble, have real oversight and transparency. that's vitally important. we cannot say they -- we cannot have a situation where when a company is getting money from the treasury, federal reserve, that we don't know about it. and we've been pushing hard that any contract that the federal government makes with a company to give it loans that we know of
that contract in a very short period of time that we can examine it. we in the senate, those in the house, the press, and the american public will see if these things are on the level because we all know there was a load of dissatisfaction with tarp. in addition, we're fighting for oversight, a new inspector general to be able to look into these contracts. we would like very much, and believe we should have, a congressional oversight board as well. and we're fighting for transparency, oversight, closure when the federal government gives corporations money. we're also wanting to make sure that workers are put first in these situations so when there
are direct federal grants and direct federal loans to these companies, they either have incentive or mandate to keep their employees and their benefits and we're making very good progress in that direction as well. small business, we all ache for these small business owners, probably second to the people who have illness in their families, we ache for these folks. we know, my father was a small business man. he had an exterminating business, he would pace the floor at 2:00 a.m. because he hated going to work. i know what people go through. you put your blood, sweat, and tears into your small business and all of a sudden it looks like it's blown away. well, there's a very fine proposal, bipartisan, on small business that i believe will be in this package as well.
so there are lots of good things here. we all know that not everyone is going to want every provision. we all know that there are many things that so many of us want are left out, but we all know that we must do these things. we are not looking for things that are extraneous to this crisis, and i don't believe that they are in this package. we are looking at things that deal directly with this crisis, and that's what we have proposed here as democrats in the senate, whether it be workers first, helping our medical system, providing oversight and transparency on the boards, helping small business, those are all directly related to the crisis. we need them soon. we need them desperately. in the last few days we have made huge progress in achieving these goals. and, again, i hope, i pray that
we can come together very quickly and pass in large numbers a bipartisan bill that will help the american people who so badly, badly, badly need our help. i yield the floor. mrs. capito: madam president. the presiding officer: the senator from west virginia. mrs. capito: thank you, madam president. i'm glad to be on the floor right now to hear the democrat whip and the democrat leader talk about the principles of a bill that we want to pass and wanted to pass two days ago. the principles of helping workers first, the principles of helping small business, the principles of looking after the health care system in entirety.
these are the fundamentals of the bill that we worked on together bipartisan, both the democrat whip and the democrat leader said this is and has been a bipartisan bill. i just got off the telephone with my local radio stations and i had to fight back the notion that the bill that was before us yesterday and sunday was a strictly republican bill. it was not. the bill that has the small business provisions that the democrat leader just said was worked on bipartisan, which we all knew was and is and is a great idea, jointly we agree on that. so i'm glad so see the acknowledgment that, yes, we've been working together. yes, we had conversations across the line, and, yes, we've worked on issues that we know are going to put workers and families across this nation first.
so i've spent a lot of time, as all of us have, talking to county commissioners, our mayors, the governor, health professionals, small business owners, individuals, moms and dads wondering is it safe to -- to have somebody help me with the kids? what kind of contact should i have with my grandchildren? this is something i am in constant debate with myself with my own grandchildren. i think what i get from everybody more than anything is not just the urgency of now but the urgency of yesterday and the day before. and so i'm glad to hear the leader say that we are close on the 5-yard line or 2-yard line but not to get into too many football analogies, we've all about to football games where we've been on the 2 and people fumbled the ball. we can't do that because it's been fumbled long enough. so for the past few days, i've been very frustrated as many of my colleagues.
i know my fellow senator from iowa who is here on the floor with me and certainly the president from georgia have great angst and great frustrations that care has been delayed when americans need it the most, both economic and health care. you know, my west virginians, they want to make sure that our hospitals, our community health centers, and other providers, our nursing homes are -- our extended care facilities have the resources that they need to provide the best coverage. that's been in this bill. i heard the urgency of p.p.e. we hear that all over the country, certainly in our state. also swabs and other testing equipment. this is part of that bill but also our hospitals who are hurting because they don't have the elective surgeries, they don't have the revenues to keep them going. the $75 billion that we have, it sounds like it may be more. fine, good.
let's keep our hospitals, particularly our rural hospitals in rural areas where they don't have the availability of health care like they have. but i tell you we want our hospitals to be open. what they don't want, what west virginians don't want is a delay in getting them the help they need just to score political points. the other things west virginians want are the best medical care for our veterans. we have four medical centers. we have a very patriotic state that has some of the highest per capita military veterans in the entire country. we want help for our veterans. what we don't want is to use the crisis to advance a bipartisan or ideological agenda which we've seen. west virginians want to make sure that we have protective equipment for doctors, nurses, and first responders on the front line. i talked to some of my volunteer fire departments. you don't think how deep this
goes or how deep the need is for personal protective equipment until you start thinking about all the different ways people have contacts. i'll tell you what. me don't want a green new deal in this bill. they want blue masks. west virginians want research into new vaccines and treatments to help fight the coronavirus and end this epidemic. when we think about how are we going to get out of this, stopping the flow of the virus is certainly number one. but we also got to get confidence back that if this comes back later, that we have the vaccines or the therapeutics that are going to help people be healthier and fight this spread of a virus. what they don't want is regulations and bureaucracies that get in the way of action. our bill helped a lot with alleviating some of those regulatory burdens that we see our health care providers fighting, at least in time of an emergency alleviating those
regulatory burdens. west virginians want to allow more medical visits to be done by telemedicine during this crisis to keep our parents, our patients, and our providers safe what they don't want is to read tomorrow morning a newspaper article that says who are the political winners and losers in this? because they know essentially people are the ones who are losing by the stall tactics that we've seen. west virginians want to help small businesses. we're probably 99% small business in our state, small state. we want to stay afloat and keep our employees on the payroll. what we don't want is for others to not realize the urgency that small businesses are feeling. i said not the urgency of now. the urgency of yesterday. think of all of the folks -- we just had a shelter in place put in place in our state. think of all the impacts this has across our state and the state of iowa and others.
west virginians want a financial boost to our families during this uncertain time. this is in the bill. i heard the leader talk about it like it was a new concept. it's been there. it's been in the bill. they don't want us to leave our communities without the tools they need to confront this crisis. west virginians -- you know, we always really band together. we really do everywhere but i have a particular pride in my state of neighbors helping neighbors, to assist workers who have been laid off as a result of the emergency by extending unemployment benefits. again, it's in there. it's been in there. they don't want for us to fail to show compassion for our fellow citizens during an emergency. west virginia yarns want to keep educating our students. we have a particular issue here with our teleeducation because we don't have a broadband. that's a subject for a different day. i know part of that is in this bill but if anybody joins with
me in this fight which many of us have, this -- the urgency of yesterday is here on the dlaifery of broad -- delivery of broadband services into rural america. what we don't want is a federal takeover of our elections system that requires same-day registration in places washington bureaucrats in charge of our local officials. west virginia has a primary on may 12. i'm working with the secretary of state and the governor to make sure our state formulates how we can get as many people voting by mail as possible within the parameters of the way we want to conduct our elections. we don't need a one-size-fits-all here. we need to keep the states in charge. west virginians want to stabilize our economy and do everything possible to avoid a long lasting economic recession. what we don't want is to enact speaker pelosi's christmas list that includes new regulations on carbon emissions, wind solar tax credit, corporate board diversity report, and a cap and
trade program for our airlines. mr. president, we have a bill before us. we've had it before us for several days. and it's appropriately called the cares act because it takes care of a lot of the priorities and issues that we've been talking about, that we hear about in our tele-town halls or talking to our neighbors and talking to our constituents. the urgency of not now, yesterday. we face a great public health threat and we face a severe threat to our economy. i'm a total optimist about everything. my glass is always half full and i know we're going to get through this and i know we're going to survive it, and i know we're going to be better for it because we're going to learn lessons, but it sure is tough when you're in it. even for a full blown optimistic person, i admit to myself and to you right today, i've had some pretty low points during this whole thing where i've wondered where are we going.
the last thing we need is the political debate that we've had over the last two days over programs, the parameters that were just laid out by the democratic leader that were in the bill, had been in the bill. so we must come together, bipartisan. i worked with the senator from delaware. we're on e.p.w. together. he was born in west virginia so he can't get too far away from me and we work together a lot across party lines. this is an example and i think we're seeing that now. i think what the leader's comments -- we're making great progress here. i'm encouraged the deal is almost this close and today might be the day that we'll join together and then we'll stop delaying care. because today is the day. yesterday could have been the day. but today is the day because i'm an optimist and i'm always looking forward. today is the day we come together and take bold action for the american people. i know that's what americans want and i know that's what my
west virginians want. i yield back. thank you. mr. carper: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from delaware. mr. carper: mr. president, i would say to my colleague, my west virginia colleague and friend, don't lose that sense of optimism. and it's going to carry us through this and hopefully well beyond. i live in delaware. my wife and i live in delaware. we live in the same house we've lived in for, gosh, 33 years and raised our sons there. sent them off into the world. every morning i get up. i come here and i go to the train station and it used to take maybe 15 minutes from my house to get to the train station. today there's just a few cars on the road. no buses. and i got to the train station and most of the doors were closed up on the platform.
i think two people were on the platform to catch the train that ultimately brought me down here. a lot of people that i rush by on the way to the train station, some people that have slept out overnight, destitute, asking for money, off the train station here, an hour and a half later in union station, walking through the train station almost empty. the train i'd been on, almost empty. and the -- a number of the people that i did run into walking through the station, out of the station, come up delaware avenue to the capitol were people who again are destitute and begging for money. there are a lot of people who showed up last week and the week before in this country to ask for and sign up for unemployment benefits. they never imagined in their
life that they'd be in this situation. a lot of people who signed up in the last two weeks for food -- food stamps or snap, food benefits for their family. they never imagined they would face this situation. my colleagues call me the -- i was privileged to be governor of delaware for eight years. the governors met on a 50en state conference call -- 50-state conference call several days ago. i was fortunate enough to talk to some of them afterwards and ask them what their priorities were. and they said among other things we want to make sure when people file for unemployment insurance, they're eligible for it, that it will actually be there and the state funds that are created, contributed to by employers in 50 states across america, when they're depleted, there needs to be a backup. and they're pleading with us to make sure that that backup is
there. i'm encouraged that the package that is before us today will provide that liquidity, if you will, for unemployment insurance. so people actually will be able to get not necessarily their full payroll or full paycheck back but at least maybe enough to get by. the governors ask that we -- they use the term plus up the snap program. we used to have food stamps. now we have something called snap cards and they can be plussed up or down, remotely, electronically and the governors were asking that we do something about that to make sure that not only people have at least some kind of payment coming in through unemployment insurance to their homes but also something -- some additional benefits for the snap program. i don't think we're going to get that. we made some progress on snap? the last package that came through a week or so ago.
and we probably especially need to focus on food benefits for families who have kids in schools. schools are closed. those kids used to get their lunch, maybe their breakfast at their school. they're not getting it now. those families especially are going to need some help. the third area i want to mention is health benefits. health benefits. a lot of people have very good health insurance benefits through their employer are going to lose that. they face the possibility of losing that. and there's going to be people, million, of people across the country who are going to sign up for medicaid who never thought they would be in a position to have to do that. and the governors are asking that we do a little bit more to help make sure that medicaid which is partly funded by the federal government, partly by
the state that there are sufficient dollars to meet the demand for health care through medicaid that certainly would not have been imagined a month or so ago. i want to just mention a couple -- i see my colleague from iowa is here. i don't want to take too much more time. i ask your indulgence just for a couple of minutes. one of our colleagues said today looking ahead to the elections and thinking about the elections, we have -- we have great concerns about elections security these days with the russians trying on interfere with our elections again. we have a postal service that's in dire straits. the postal service as we know it has faced great challenges in recent years because of the lack of first class mail. people have moved off the first class mail into e-mail and to -- to do business in personal communications. but the postal service is in
dire straits. one of the ways we could help them would actually to expand vote by mail and every state that has -- counties and cities that have primaries, general elections, that would be a source of revenues for the postal service going forward. and act -- it actually addresses the concerns we have about the russians interfering in our business. in the last week or so i got a call -- i know my colleagues did as well -- i called really smart people i know, people in this country, people like leon panetta, sylvia mathews burwell. john kasich, a number of other people democrats and republicans, to pick their brains about what they thought we should do. some of the best advice from people like leon panetta and mark zandi and several others used the three t's.
i said what are the three t's. he said when you're putting together this package remember the three t's. i said what are they? he said they are timely. whatever we're doing should be timely. targeted, should be targeted. and it should be temporary. and i believe that's what we're trying to do with this huge package, enormous package. i never imagined we'd be dealing with one bill of this size and magnitude. timely, targeted, temporary. we added one to that. democrats suggested this and i think republicans embrace this idea, and that is it also should be transparent. transparent. i have a gathering, i have a bunch of quotes that i carry around with me on my cell phone. sometimes i need some inspiration and i pull out my cell phone and i look at a couple of quotes in anticipation of saying something today, i
looked at a few of my favorites. one of is john kennedy. i think it's he he especially ty now. he once said let's not seek a republican answer or democratic answer. let's seek the right answer. another quote i carry on my phone is one by churchill. churchill used to say the worst form of government divides -- devised by man is democracy. except for all the rest. what he was saying there is this is a hard way to govern. it sure is, especially in the midst of a pandemic, the likes of which we've never seen in our lifetimes in the last century. the third one that comes to mind is an african proverb. it goes something like this, if you want to go fast, go alone. if you want to go far, go the other. think about that. if you want to go fast, go
alone. if you want to go far, go together. i think what we have coming together here is our democrats and republicans and maybe an independent or two who have decided over the last several days that despite our differences, there is not a republican answer, not a democratic answer. there is the right answer. hopefully we've got a lot more right answers in this package we'll be dealing with today than wrong answers. the american people are counting on us to pull together and i think we're beginning to do that. i would close by saying this is not the first package, legislative package that we've adopted in the last, prepared to adopt in the last two weeks or so. this is number three. people smarter than me said there will probably be a number four and maybe a number five as we learn more going forward. the version is pretty small, $3 billion. the second focuses a lot on testing, over $100 billion.
this one is many, many, many times that amount. and i hope folks will be encouraged. we were able to mostly get it right in the first legislative package mostly get it right in the second legislative package. this one is huge, taken about a week or so to pound it out, but i think we've gotten together because we've probably gone slow. so i would say to the american people, take heart. we've been through a lot worse than this in our lifetime. a civil war that killed about 800,000 men, families against families, brothers against brothers, hundreds of thousands of others, women, children, old people killed. after the civil war was over, our president was, lincoln was assassinated. a short while later his successor andrew johnson from
tennessee was impeached. we somehow made it out of that century to get into the 20th century just in time to fight not one world war but two world wars, fought them, led them, won them. cold war, led it, won it. and when the sun came up on january 1, 2001, here's where we were as a nation. we had the strongest economy on earth. we had the most productive workforce on earth. we had four balanced budgets in a row. we had not p balanced a budget since 1968. 9 last four years of the clinton administration four balanced budgets in a row with a republican led congress. the most admired nation on earth. if we can get through everything from the civil war to the first day of 2001, we can get through
this as well. people are looking to us to lead, and i hope and pray that later today that's exactly what we'll do. i want to thank everybody that's working very hard both on our side, our leadership, our caucus, the republican side, their leadership. i was in chuck schumer's vestibule today. secretary mnuchin was going back and forth. chuck schumer and others, a. a. -- a lot of activity and i think a little more optimism than i've seen in the last several days. america, take heart. we'll get through this. thank you so much. i yield the floor. a senator: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from iowa. ms. ernst: thank you, mr. president. we have a clear objective right now, which is to get additional
immediate relief into the hands of the american worker and to do it fast. and that's what we're focused on, folks. that's what we have been focused on since passing the phase one package, and then the house-led phase two relief package last week. the phase two bill, it was not perfect, but i was happy to support it because it was the right thing to do. it was the support that iowans needed. and since president trump signed that package last wednesday, nearly a week ago, i've continued to hear from iowans, those in our hospital industry, those in the restaurant industry, agriculture, trucking, retail, child care, biofuels. i've heard from all of them, one-on-one conversations about the need for additional and
immediate relief, relief for the young families in iowa right now who are feeling very anxious about how they are going to make that end of the month rent payment come april 1. relief for the nurse, like my cousin, and the doctors who are fretting about going into work because they don't have the personal protective equipment they need to not get and protect them from the coronavirus. and relief from the small business owner who so badly wants to be able to keep her employees on the payroll so that when we get through this pandemic -- and, folks, we will get through this pandemic -- she can get her business up and running, and so she can keep sending her employees those paychecks. we have a lot of those small business owners all across our main streets and all around our
squares in iowa. i also think about the seniors across my home state of iowa who are probably worried about access to the medical services and the care that they might need during these very challenging times. or the middle-aged couple that's been looking at the market and seeing those markets spiraling down every single day and wondering what does that mean for our future and for our retirement plans. folks, the american people are hurting right now. they're very anxious. and now more than ever they're looking to us. iowans and of course all americans need to know that we have their back and that their
livelihoods are our top priority. and what we've seen over the past several days is a very sad attempt by folks across the aisle to stall and exploit this crisis as an opportunity to jam through their political wish list. and, folks, we can have those policy debates. we can have those another day. but with each passing minute we waste, more lives are at risk, more jobs are lost, and more communities are turned upside down. we're not going to play games anymore in the united states senate. the american people have made it quite clear, they need relief, and they need it now. this phase three relief package
is not and will not be a christmas tree bill. in fact, folks, it's been the product of hours and hours of bipartisan negotiations from five different groups. those working groups who have worked late into the night and over the weekend to come up with a good bill for the american people. this bill is squarely focused on getting immediate relief to millions of hardworking americans across our great united states. now just a while ago the democratic leader was on the floor and he was touting a number of these provisions, and as my colleague from west virginia pointed out, those provisions that the leader is touting, they have been in this package. these are not new provisions.
these are not new provisions, folks. we should have, and we could have advanced this bill days ago. this bipartisan phase three package includes billions of dollars for our nation's health care workers and our health care system as a whole. and this has been a big priority of mine, something i've heard from time and time again from iowa's hospitals and health care professionals, and something i've called on congress to respond to. billions of dollars for additional personal protective equipment and other materials health care workers are depending on us to help increase the supply of the p.p.e. they need so that they can continue to battle the spread of the
coronavirus and care for their patients, some of whom are our most vulnerable. billions of dollars for small businesses across our states to be able to keep employees on the payroll and pay their bills. again, a huge priority for iowa. and as, again, my colleague from west virginia, she stated that about 99% of her businesses in west virginia are small businesses. that's true in iowa as well, with 99% of our businesses being small business. billions of dollars to provide direct financial assistance to individual americans to ensure access to testing and a future coronavirus vaccine to make sure it's covered at no cost, at no cost to the individual. dollars going to expanded telehealth and to increase care for our veterans and also to
provide ununemployment insurance and to defer student loans. so, folks, the list goes on and on and on. this bipartisan phase three relief package is focused on the american worker and our american family. so again, many of these provisions have been in the bill since the beginning. these are not new provisions. we need to stop these stall tactics. and it's not time for long drawn-out policy debates on the floor of the senate. folks, now is the time for action. it is time for congress to step up, put aside our partisan wants and show up for the people of our states. mr. president, i am an eternal optimist, and i have hope that we will be able to come together and reassure the american people
that they are our top priority. each and every one of us in this body have an obligation to the men and the women who elected us to do our jobs, and right now our job is to get americans the relief that in some instances they are literally crying for. to my friends across the aisle, i believe that you know what the right thing to do is. join us. put the people ahead of party. help us deliver additional relief to the men, the women, and the children of our great nation. let's pass this phase three relief package today. and, folks, we all want you to stay safe and stay strong. god bless you all.
i yield the floor. mr. cornyn: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from texas. mr. cornyn: mr. president, every day that passes, the number of covid-19 or coronavirus cases continues to tick up, up, and up. a report by the word health organization last week noted that while it took more than three months to reach 100,000
cases nationwide -- excuse me -- worldwide, it took only 12 days to hit another 100,000. it doubled in 12 days. and now we know it took less than a week to add the next 100,000. now, some of this is because of increased access to testing, something we knew we were not ramped up to do and more and more people are getting tested. that's good news. those who have the virus can be isolated and treated if necessary. those who don't have the peace of mind knowing that they do not carry the disease and they can by virtue of good personal hygiene and social distancing, they can remain healthy. but if we're going to have any success at slowing the trajectory of this virus and minimizing the economic harm, the time to act is now.
the eyes of the nation are upon us. they want to know if partisanship can be set aside in the face of a pandemic. mr. president, they want to know is this -- this partisanship an indulgence we cannot afford. so if you're trying to figure out the answer, let me recap what's happened in the senate recently. for weeks our democratic colleagues have agreed that this is indeed a crisis, that we need to act promptly, and that we need to shed our partisanship because our country can't wait. i agree. our country is in dire need, and this is no time for politics as usual. indeed, this has always been our custom. this has always been our instinct as americans during
crises like 9/11, like the great recession of 2008. we would have every reason to expect that in the face of another national crisis, like the coronavirus, that democrats and republicans would work together. but that has not been the case. we now need republicans and democrats to come together as we have in the past to deliver on our shared priorities to support our country during this unprecedented time. there is in fact broad bipartisan agreement about the result. we need to get relief directly from washington to the american people as soon as possible. that we need to provide small businesses with help so they can survive this storm. and once the virus is defeated, that they are still around to provide jobs to people they have
now had to furlough or lay off. there seems to be broad bipartisan agreement. we need a freeze on student loan payments to provide peace of mind to tens of millions of borrowers and that employees that have been impacted by the virus should get support now. and they should have jobs to come back to later. over the weekend it seemed like we were making good progress. there had been negotiating between the parties, compromising. and as of sunday morning it looked like we were just about there. then the speaker of the house and the minority leader of the senate decided the crisis should not be wasted. they claimed all of a sudden that the deal was not good enough, even though they themselves helped to write it. the speaker in particular played a unique role in blowing this
up. after sending the house home for a week-long vacation, she flew back into town at the 11th hour and laid waste to countless hours of bipartisan work. so when the time came for a routine procedural vote in the senate that would start the process of considering legislation and would have provided us even more time to debate it, democrats on a party line led by the democratic leader killed it. dead in its tracks. you know, it's hard to think of an appropriate metaphor during a time like this, but when our nation is on fire, democrats decided to shoot the tires on the fire truck that was going to put out the fire. in doing so they fell in
lockstep in spite of the fact many of them had helped negotiate the bill and they flushed every ounce of progress we'd made over the weekend down the drain. less than 24 hours later we held another routine procedural vote. once again democrats in lockstep blocked us from even considering this bipartisan legislation which has their fingerprints all over it. they claim they're still not happy with the text but that claim clearly doesn't hold water. we continue to hear update after update with senator schumer saying a deal is close, a deal is close, but with each hour let alone day that passes, the number of coronavirus cases is rising. the number of people dead of this virus is rising. our public health system is taking a beating and the
minority leader's home state of new york is among the hardest hit. they now have 25,000 confirmed cases in new york and the number of cases doubles every three days. you would think the democratic lead we're have a sense of urgency about getting help to his own constituents in new yo york. if there was any doubt that our friends on the other side of the aisle prioritized politics over the health and safety of their constituents, let me tell you about some of the changes they were after. the minority leader wanted to include in this legislation an expansion of tax credits for wind and solar energy. they wanted to give unprecedented authority to organized labor and to address fuel emissions standards for airlines, none of which is relevant to the immediate crisis that is at hand.
and while these are normal topics that we would debate and vote on during normal times, they are not the sort of thing that ought to occupy one minute of our time during this crisis. while doctors and nurses have bruises on their face from wearing masks and goggles for 12 hours-plus a day, this sideshow should not be part of the minority leader's priorities. clearly his goal was not to make the legislation better for health care professionals or the millions of workers who lost their jobs. he's trying to use this national emergency as an opportunity to enact dramatic liberal policy reforms that have nothing to do with this crisis. people are dying. hospitals are overwhelmed. small businesses have closed their doors and workers have lost their jobs. the american people do not have
time for his games. this virus is spreading at an exponential rate and we can't afford to waste time fighting one another over these sort of irrelevant partisan sideshows. i know under normal circumstances this kind of gamesmanship is part of the process, but now in the face of this crisis, it is absolutely unconscionable. it's reckless and irresponsible. a pandemic has swept across the country with alarming speed. our hospitals are in need of personal protective equipment. businesses have shut their doors. employees have been laid off. and people across the country wonder just how long they can survive at this pace. the bill we had last sunday would have taken major steps to support our country during this crisis. it would have sent desperately
needed funding to the hospitals that are struggling to manage a new influx of patients and help fight the shortage of masks and other personal protective equipment. it would have provided direct financial assistance for middle-class families. a family of four would receive up to $3,400 to help cover rent, groceries, electric bills and other expenses. in the interim between being laid off and being able to qualify for unemployment compensation, we would have provided them a lifeline and we still need to do it and we need to do it now. this legislation which we could have passed to days ago would have delivered relief for small businesses that are struggling to stay afloat and ensure that their employees impacted by this coronavirus would be taken care of. what's more, those small businesses need to be able to continue to exist so that when we defeat this virus, people
will actually have jobs to come back to. but our democratic colleagues said that wasn't good enough. they chose to put their partisan political agenda ahead of the health and safety of the american people. so here we are with no end in sight. we keep reading reports from the minority leader and others saying well, the bill is on the 2-yard line. well, you can have the distance and never still -- still never get across the goal. yesterday house democrats released their own coronavirus package which was really amazing in the face of this bipartisan negotiated bill. speaker pelosi parachutes back into town after a week-long vacation and drops an 1,100-page piece of -- a bill which
includes a host of proposals that have absolutely nothing to do with solving this crisis. as i mentioned, emissions mandates for airlines, tens of millions of dollars for the john f. kennedy center for performing arts. early voting and vote by mail requirements for every state across the country. this isn't a sincere effort to support our health care providers, workers, and small businesses. it's a naked attempt to use a public health emergency as a smoke screen for their radical agenda. democrats' priorities simply isn't solving the health care and economic crisis that we're dealing with today. it's not. if it were, senate democrats would not have voted against a bipartisan relief bill two times already. and now house democrats are flaunting a bill that does more to advance their agenda and does not solve the crisis at hand. mr. president, we don't have
a senator: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from nebraska. mrs. fischer: thank you, mr. president. are we in a quorum call? the presiding officer: we are. mrs. fischer: i would ask that it be vitiated, please. the presiding officer: without objection. mrs. fischer: thank you. mr. president, yesterday i came to the floor to talk about the need to provide relief for families across this country who are hurting because of this coronavirus crisis. i said that people are frightened, they are stressed, and they are looking to us to take action. many people have lost their jobs. many are watching their hard-earned savings evaporate. many don't know when they'll be able to go back to work. here in this body, my colleagues and i are trying to move forward on a bill that would provide relief to individuals to families, to
small and medium-sized businesses, and to our agriculture producers. our bill would help stabilize our economy in this downturn. the senate bill offers reasonable, sorely needed solutions that will help families, and yet while the anxiety and frustration around this country rises, the other side is obstructing and delaying the relief that the american people need. mr. president, let's look at what's happening here and on the other side of this building. house democrats ceased bipartisan negotiations on covid-19 that relief package that we've been working on so that they could write their own bill. and what are the provisions that speaker pelosi and the house democrats think are critical right now during this crisis of
unprecedented proportions like we've never seen before? a wish list that many of my colleagues have spoken about. a wish list that has nothing to do with the crisis at hand, nothing to save lives, no serious new effort to provide relief. yesterday i also spoke about the fact that in our bill, we have relief for agriculture, the only effort to provide relief for ag producers, and it was facing a democrat effort to be removed from the bill. i don't often agree with the chair of the nebraska democrat party, but she was right when she said recently in an interview with "the hill" that democrats don't have a plan for
rural america. according to the article, she said that democrats only address rural voters directly, people in rural communities, when they show up in iowa to campaign for votes. to the hardworking men and women of rural america, i say to you you, take note. take note on who recognizes your vital role in our country and who is fighting for you. mr. president, people are sick and people are scared. as of this morning, my home state of nebraska now has 62 confirmed cases of covid-19. addressing these democrat priorities won't help our health
care workers who are on the front lines in this fight against this virus. it won't help our small businesses who might have to lay off people or shut their doors for good if they don't get this assistance. it doesn't help our ag producers in nebraska and all across the heartland who are working tirelessly to feed the world during these tough times. i'll say again what i said yesterday. we don't have a lot of time here. i urge all my colleagues to work together and save the debate on a wish list for another day. today let's give the american people what they need, and that's relief. relief for the families who are at home caring for their children and doing everything they can to make ends meet.
relief for our amazing health care workers and community hospitals who are combatting this disease, caring for their patients and saving lives. relief for small main street businesses, the backbone of america that make our communities vibrant and prosperous. let's give all of these great americans the critical relief to help carry them through this crisis. i urge my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to work in a productive way to get this next phase of relief passed and send it to the president's desk as soon as possible. that you -- thank you, mr. pres. i yield the floor and suggest the absence of a quorum call. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
mr. boozman: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from arkansas. mr. boozman: thank you, mr. president. the presiding officer: the senate is in a quorum call. mr. boozman: i ask that we dispense with the quorum call. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. boozman: thank you, mr. president. i arrived in washington in november of 2001 after winning a special election to serve the people of the third district of arkansas in the house of representatives. this was shortly after 9/11. it was a very anxious time in the capitol. every one of my colleagues sought to find ways to work together to move major pieces of legislation that helped to return a sense of normalcy that americans so desperately sought in the wake of the attacks. given all that is at stake right now, for the life of me, i've
not been able to understand why we've been struggling to do the same now. thankfully, the partisanship that's dominated these past few days has subsided. it appears we can now move forward after this unnecessary delay. this is vital, as we simply can't afford to wait. many small businesses in arkansas, large cities, and small towns alike, are being forced to close to protect the public health, to protect their families and because of a shrinking customer base, customers are urged to stay home. the unexpected business closure for small business owners, through no fault of their own, may prevent many of them from reopening by the time this is behind us. though employed at these operation also be the hardest hit financially by this crisis. entire industries that are so
vital to our nation's economic well-being have been crushed by the pandemic. the markets have taken a huge hit from the crisis, putting their re -- putting the retirement security of millions of americans in jeopardy. and it's certainly expected that our health care sector is strained to capacity right now by the coronavirus pandemic will face financial challenges moving forward. congress's initial responses in the wake of the crisis were promising. we came together to pass a comprehensive package to dramatically increase efforts to prevent the spread of the disease, threated those who had covid-19 and find a vaccine. president trump signed this bipartisan, bicameral emergency supplemental appropriations package that provided funding
throughout the government, almost $8 billion to face the growing challenge that we face. it is a governmentwide approach checting the tall eng of local and public health officials and health care professionals to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus and treat those who have been affected. after that, the house passed a bipartisan relief bill, the families first coronavirus response act that includes paid emergency leave for workers, widespread coronavirus testing at no additional cost to patients, and enhanced food security initiatives. last week my colleagues in this chamber worked together to approve the families first coronavirus response act and the president signed it into law. this was the first step in our efforts to provide economic relief. we called it phase two.
there are several aspects of that bill that the senate would like to have changed, but for the sake of urgency and building bipartisan momentum, we passed the bill without a single amendment. we put our differences aside and did what we believed was in the best interest of the american people. republicans and democrats alike agree that much more is needed to be done to help individual americans negatively affected by this crisis and stave off a massive economic disaster. that's what this bill does. phase one provided immediate funding to address the public health crisis, phase two, the family first coronavirus response act marked the beginning of your our efforts to address the coronavirus economic impact. it has a number of helpful provisionses in it but we -- provisions in it but we need to provide more relief to the
american people in this time of crisis. that is phase three, the coronavirus cares act, the bill we have been trying to move forward over the past several days. the cares act would send billions of dollars to hospital and health care providers. the men and women on the front lines of this fight. it will send direct checks to millions of american households to offset the economic impact of the crisis and allow for a much-needed injection of liquidity into our economy. it would expand unemployment insurance while stabilizing industries to prevent mass layoffs, and it would provide dramatic relief to the livelihood of our economy, our small businesses, which have taken a massive hit as a result of this unprecedented public health crisis. we have to create a path to economic recovery. we've told americans they can't go to work, businesses are
unable to operate, and as a result of these measures, individuals are not getting a paycheck. we need to be helping them through this crisis by providing cash payouts, expanding unemployment benefits, and by ensuring that there will be jobs for americans to return to when this is all over. this is not a stimulus plan, it's an existence plan. we have to pass this bill. americans have lost faith in many of their institutions. this is a defining moment. we have a chance to restore some of the confidence that has been lost by putting the needs of the nation over the wishes of the political class. americans are looking forward to washington for leadership right now. this is a true test. let's pass this bill and show that we can rise up to the massive challenge before our nation. and, with that, mr. president, i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk
a senator: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from south carolina. mr. scott: that you want. i vitiate -- thank you, mr. president. i vitiate the quorum call. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. scott: thank you, mr. president. i rise to say today for the past two weeks, especially the past two weeks, they have been incredibly difficult times for south carolinians and for americans throughout the country. as we always do, our american family has shown resilience and so many are working to lift up those in need. i think about the folks who are going through drive-throughs and leaving tips. i've heard stories throughout south carolina and i'm sure it's true throughout america of folks paying for groceries for the single moms and for those in need behind them. i've heard of restaurants in south carolina from the halls
food chain who are providing meals for single parents as well as for the homeless. there are so many positive stories coming out today and yesterday about the will of the american family to pull together during these incredibly unprecedented and challenging times. we have also learned a lot about social distancing and how to keep our restaurants open when folks are not allowed to go in. schools have had to close down and shift to only online learning environments, taxing both parents, as i understand, and teachers. many workers have been furloughed or laid off. i can't tell you, mr. president, i'm sure it's true in north carolina, but it is certainly true in south carolina, that so many of our restaurant owners -- i've been
on the calls with hundreds of them, talking about shuttering their entire operations. last thursday and last friday saw one restaurant with several different locations, i think it was six locations, laid off 900 employees, all going to the unemployment line. another restaurant chain, small six or seven locations, another 1,000 employees. in myrtle beach, south carolina, one of the meccas of tourism in the nation, restaurant ach -- restaurant after restaurant after restaurant, hotel after hotel laying off parts of their family workers who have become family members over a decade or two of working at the same place, serving amazing people, today
without work. today without a paycheck that gives them the glue not only to keep their families together, to keep their finances together. mr. president, small businesses are scrambling. i've run three different small businesses. i know the pain of not signing the front of a paycheck for yourself, not being able to sign the back of that same paycheck for yourself because you're willing to do whatever it takes to make sure your employees get to cash their paychecks. i understand the turmoil in the heart of the employee and the employer who simply don't have the resources they had just a
couple of weeks ago. and even worse, mr. president, it's because they did nothing wrong that they find themselves completely and totally exasperated, unable to comprehend and understand how outside of their own control they no longer have the resources necessary to take care of their own family. mr. president, we find ourselves in unprecedented times, but in these times i'm reminded of the entire group of heroes that show up every single day, and typically we're only talking about the law enforcement community and first responders, but today we have to add to the list of american heroes those folks who are clerks in grocery stores, filling the shelves over and
over again. we have to add to that list, mr. president, those folks who are helping in the take-out, deliver so that folks can have a hot meal when they go home. we undoubtedly keep in mind the true american heroes of our health care workers -- the doctors, the nurses, and as my mother has been for 45 years, nurses assistants, showing up in hospital environments, putting their lives on the line for fellow americans, folks they don't even know. they do so because it's not just their job, it's not just their duty. it's their call, it's their mission. mr. president, we are blessed to live in a nation, to live in a nation where everyday people
understand when it seems that we do not in this chamber. that is what makes the last three days so incredibly frustrating. on saturday, mr. president, it looked like this was all about over. we were so close to a deal, so close that senator schumer himself said on tv he was very pleased with the negotiations. he spoke about how bipartisan the negotiations were. and then the speaker of the house returned to town, and the tide of bipartisanship seemed to be coming to an end. we were making real progress, and the bill text was even released. for absolutely no reason, the
speaker's passion for partisan hogwash started causing the type of delays that doesn't simply cripple our economy, but it imperils our health care response to people who are infected by the coronavirus. it imperils our response to the health care workers who are providing the response. it compromises our ability to respond with the p.p.e., or said differently, the material and the equipment and the uniforms necessary to protect the health care worker. i honestly cannot believe we are still here not having already passed legislation that would make such a big difference in
the lives of so many. instead we had to waste time explaining to the speaker and to some of our friends on the other side that airline fuel emissions is not important in this legislation. we can debate that at another time. if you want the airline industry to be carbon neutral by 2025, let's have that debate. but let's not have it when people are desperately searching for help. we may need to debate the importance of same-day registration and early voting. but let's not hold up hundreds -- i'm sorry -- a trillion-plus dollars from the hands of people who can't take care of their family because of
the strong desire to use this crisis to achieve partisan ends. we all should be interested in diversity, but let's not hold up assistance from families because some folks like the speaker want to use this legislation as a way to bring diversity to boards. listen, that is not the place for this debate. this conversation should be a conversation about our health care workers, about nose infected, about those impacted. not about partisan political gains. imagine that. wasting time on 1,119 pages of
the speaker's,, quote-unquote, priorities. nanchgfully the american people are -- thankfully the american people are smarter and more resilient than those folks in congress. the american people may be concerned, they may feel the sense of uncertainty about how long, weeks or months, that this will play out. but -- but they know what we need, immediate help for workers, for small businesses, and for health care professionals. that is why in this legislation we fund hospitals, more than $70 billion for hospitals are being held up right now. more than $20 billion for veterans, held up right now. tens of billions of dollars for vaccines, billions of dollars for the c.d.c., billions of
dollars for fema, billions of dollars in block grants for the states, billions of dollars, tens of billions of dollars of emergency assistance for public transportation so you can get there. held up. what are they blocking? well, they are blocking hundreds of billions of dollars in unemployment relief. let me say it differently. in south carolina, the average -- the maximum benefit for unemployment is $326 a week. if you're making $36,000 a year, $1,250 a week the maximum benefit is $326 in south carolina. it's $327 in tennessee. in our legislation no less than
$600 additional dollars would flow to the unemployed, but not just the traditional unemployed, as we have always defined it, but we have expanded the definition of unemployment of who would be eligible to include the 1099, or the person working for themselves, because we want to make sure that the average person in this nation who is taking the risk, taking the chance to do something that they've always dreamed of doing and they are working for themselves, that if this crisis has caused you to lose your paycheck and you're self-employed, we, in a bipartisan fashion, wove together legislation that takes you into consideration. instead of giving the 326 in south carolina or the $327 in tennessee, you receive $600 additional on top of that because we know the crisis you
are in is not of your own making. we provide direct payments in this bill. very controversial, very debatable, but here it is, a minimum of up to $75,000 in individual income, $150,000 in household income, two parents working, $75,000 and $75,000 can get $500 per working adult and $500 for the children. that's $3,000 almost held up. -- held up in a partisan debate. as a small business owner, knowing how hard it is to keep the employees when business is ripped out of your hand, you can nothing wrong, this legislation
provides loans to keep your employees on the payroll if that is something that makes sense. and if you used the funds that you borrow to keep your employees on the payroll, it becomes more of a grant than a loan. that's a good thing because it's far cheaper for your employer to keep you on the payroll than it is to gamble in the unemployment insurance line. so i am thankful to the american people. thankful to the american people because they have provided us everything. they provided us examples of hope, reasons to be optimistic, the picture of strength, tenacity and toughness, and most importantly in the midst of
crisis, they provided us a picture of unity, people helping people. that's the -- that's the part of the story that we haven't heard a lot about, people helping people. so as this charade finally comes to a close, hopefully by the time we go to sleep tonight, i want to tell my folks back home in south carolina, and the doctors in washington state, the nurses in new york city and the restaurant owner in myrtle beach one thing, thank you. thank you for showing us all what it means to be an american, especially during unprecedented times. thank you for reminding those blinded by politics in washington what the actual goal really is.
i know america will not simply survive. america will, in fact, thrive in the aftermath of this crisis. i know it because i know many, many americans and that's what we do. god has blessed the united states of america. let us be a blessing to each other and get this done. i note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
the presiding officer: the senator from ohio. mr. portman: i ask that the quorum call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. portman: mr. president, our economy is in a free fall. i just got off the phone with another business in ohio worried about whether they can survive, whether or not they can keep the workers they have and looking to us to try to pass something that would actually help. the bill before us does that, and yet here we are, another day has gone by, more people have lost their jobs, more small businesses have shuttered. the health care crisis continues. the coronavirus spreading. and we're not passing legislation that addresses all of those issues.
i ask my colleagues on the other side of the aisle, work with us. let's come up with a bill here today. it's the result of a bipartisan process. i was part of it, so i can tell you that. it was four different task forces that were asked to deal with four different parts of the response to the coronavirus. each one was bipartisan. in our case there were two republicans, two democrats, the administration was involved. we made concessions, democrats made concessions, the legislation represents that. there are ideas from both sides in it. and yet here we are, 48 hours after the bill was introduced, we had hoped to have the bill signed into law by the president on monday. i had businesses calling me yesterday saying i'm holding on because i was told this was going to get done on monday. so my hope is those meetings that are happening behind those closed doors over there result in something quickly and that democrats don't keep trying to
add more things to this bill that are extraneous, that don't have to do with the coronavirus. this is not the time to try to get whatever your wish list is on a piece of legislation that's moving. this is not our normal times here where members try to take advantage of a bill going through bill adding something to it. it's also not a time to say let's spend more, more, and more on everything. this is unprecedented. total spending in this bill will be about $1.5 interest, the entire corporation that comes through the process here called discretionary spending is the amount of just one coronavirus emergency bill. to me, it's a rescue package. it's a rescue package that does three things. one, it tries to keep the doors open in those small businesses
that are watching us so carefully right now to see what's going to happen. also as part of keeping the doors open means that you can keep your employees. so goal one is keep employees attached to businesses. we should all want that. that's where most people get their health care, get their retirement. that's where we want employees to be as we get over the hump here and begin to control this virus. then we want to go back to work. we want to get the economy moving again so people can have paychecks and our economy can grow again. number two, we do want to take care of those people who through no fault of their own have found themselves out of work. and, sadly, in my home state of yo around around -- and around the country there are a lot of people in that category. our unemployment insurance is overwhelmed. this past week we had a 20-fold increase, a 2,000% increase the number of people applying for unemployment insurance. our claims skyrocketed,
overwhelmed the system. it's happening all over the country. we want to take care of those people. and, three, this legislation does what is perhaps the most important thing, which is it addresses the problems in our public health care system that have resulted in this response to coronavirus not being as strong as we would like it. think about more masks and more gowns, protective equipment. think about the antiviral medication people can take. with flu you can take tammy flew. -- you can take tam flee. -- tamiflu. you need the antiviral. we don't have enough tests. people who are asymptomatic ought to get enough tests. if they're positive we ought to be able to trace. that's what they did in south korea and japan. that's all in this legislation. until we solve the health care part of it, that last part, that third part, we're going to
continue to have problems in terms of the economic free fall. we can't spend enough money to stop what's happening in terms of this economic issue unless we deal with the health care part of this. and i think we're starting to make progress, but you know what? we need the funding now so that the centers for disease control, so that the states, so that the state departments of public health, the county departments of public health can get to the point that they know who has this, they can trace it and they can tell us with certainty whether we're making progress or not. one thing this bill will let us do is to develop those metrics so that you and i and everybody every day can see what the status is, how many new cases have been opened that day. if we have this information from better testings, from better information flow, from the funding in this bill including billions of dollars going to the centers for disease control and back to the states, we'll be able to have some way to measure our success and eventually be able to say we're making progress.
we've actually reversed the trend. only then will moms and dads feel safe having their kids go back to school. only then will workers feel like it's safe to go back to work. only then will restaurants be able to reopen and have people coming in to take advantage of that hospitality. only then will the theaters be able to open up and the bowling alleys. so this is in this legislation also on the first two we talked about, helping keep employees at work and keeping the doors open with small businesses. please let's pass this right away because there are doors closing as we talk. every minute we're here arguing over stuff, some of which has nothing to do with coronavirus, means another business has shut down, another group of employees are let go. this legislation says, if you're a small business, you can get a loan from your bank to keep the doors open, and the loan effectively converts fo a
grant, meaning you don't have to pay it back. if you use the loan to pay your payroll, to keep people, to pay your rent, to pay your mortgage. this is new. it's innovative. it's something that small businesses are excited about, but we've got to pass the legislation to make it happen. this is $350 billion. and, again, total forgiveness of that loan if you use it for these purposes to keep your employees. please let's get this passed right away. it's going to take a little while for these programs to go in place, all the more reason for us not to wait another day or even another hour. second, for larger businesses there is this new fund called the exchange stabilizeation companies to help companies who can't get a loan from the bank, for liquidity so they can stay in business. they may have little or no cash flow but they're looking for a loan to be able to stay afloat.
these loans don't have to be paid back. should there be accountability with these loans? of course. republicans are for accountability. that's fine. but let's get moving on this. it is under this provision there will be special help for certain industries. national security industries, the airlines. republicans are for that. but let's make sure that this is not a giveaway. make sure that there's an opportunity to the shareholders who are the taxpayers of our country to be able to get their money back, just like shareholders would want to in another business kind of commercial loan. that's all we're asking for. the final thing is that under this legislation, there is significant help for these companies to be able to keep their doors open, small, medium, and large, through some tax incentives that provide more liquidity dliewrg -- during this year, 2020. one of the important thrintions thrintions -- things there is if you do have payroll you
cannot paper your payroll taxes in 2020. you are defer your payroll taxes that lets them keep people, stay in business. yet they have to pay them back over time. for the taxpayers it's a good deal. there's also an opportunity here to help people directly. that's in this legislation. that's the first goal. first goal, keep the doors open, keep employees at work. second goal hem -- help people who through no fault find themselvesunemployed some for the first time in their lives. i've got friends i know who have been let go. they work in the retail business or the hospitality business. there is just no business. they have never been to an unemployment insurance office. they have never had to. now they have to. so, yes, this legislation does include a little help for them.
in two ways -- one, unemployment insurance is bumped up from the federal government. so every state in the country is going to have the ability to be sure that people who come and want to get on unemployment have the ability maybe not to match their salary entirely, not total wage replacement. but for low-income workers, yes. and for others, at least enough money to be able to put food on the table, maybe make the rent, maybe make the car payment during this period. it's a short-term proposal. it's three months but it's really important. it's a safety net, unemployment insurance. and then second, a direct payment. and you've heard about that perhaps, i think it's $1,200 per person, $2,400 for a joint filer, for a couple. and then $500 for a child. why is that p important? people need some cash right now. some people are not going to be able to get on the unemployment insurance for awhile because it takes awhile to process that but
they will have the ability because the i.r.s. will be presenting these checks quickly to be able to have a little cushion. so this bill has all that. this bill is there to help people. this bill is there to ensure the doors can stay open in these businesses and people can stay employed to the extent possible. let's not block it anymore. people said there's not enough money in here and that's really what democrats want is to put more money in the bill. there is already $75 billion straight to hospitals. then i would argue at least another $40 billion going to hospitals directly or indirectly through medicare reimbursements. through other changes in law that help. that used to be a lot of money around here. my point is if that's not enough, in a few weeks congress will be back, we can look at this. we are willing to fine-tune this. but don't block the bill today because it's not enough money for whatever you think your needs are. we have don't know what the needs are, let's be